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CBN.com “He took the shot gun and put it under [my chin]. He said, ‘It wouldn’t take anything for me to just blow you away.’ I remember praying that he would calm down.”
It wasn’t a stranger who held Almetia Mack at gunpoint. It was her husband. This pattern of abuse lasted for 18 years.
“He would do the open hand in the face,” Almetia recalls. “The back and forth with the slapping. He would hit me in the head. If he did a fist thing, it would be like where you wouldn’t be able to notice it. It was like in my back or in my stomach.”
Ironically Almetia’s father was also an alcoholic. She craved his attention but never received it. So she looked for that love in others. At 18, she met Thomas. She became pregnant and left home. They soon married.
“I married someone just like my dad,” Almetia says. “There is such a similarity.”
But what Almetia didn’t expect was his violent nature, which erupted soon after they married.
“We had a little argument and then he hit me,” she says. “I’m thinking [that] I’m just gonna hit him back, and that’s gonna be the end of it. But that was not the end of it because that was when he lost it. He beat me really bad. From then on, he would tell me, ‘Oh, you’re stupid, you’re dumb. You can’t do anything right.’”
Almetia was overwhelmed with fear because of the physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Her oldest son, Gerald, remembers how helpless he felt when he tried to protect his mother.
“When he beat her, I got in-between, and I pushed him. He just slapped me down to the floor. Ever since then I was always afraid of my father,” says Gerald. “I would go and sit by the bathroom door while it was closed. I’d hear her crying. It’s really hard to even really talk about.”
“He cared nothing for us,” says Almetia. “Nothing. I almost hated him. I did. I hated what I was going through.”
In between the beatings and the verbal abuse were apologies.
“It was like Dr. Jeckyll, Mr. Hyde,” says Almetia. “You could tell when he took the first drink. He would start changing, and he was drinking everyday. And then the girlfriends…”
Thomas would leave for work on Friday and not return until Monday night. Then the cycle of abuse would start all over. Twice Almetia took out restraining orders on her husband. She even left him, but her own mother encouraged her to return. Soon the physical stress of the abuse began to show. A routine visit to the doctor led to a series of tests. The doctors gave Almetia some bad news. She had cancer. The doctors gave her five years to live.
“I remember not wanting to accept that,” she says. “I just couldn’t accept that I had cancer.”
One day, Almetia agreed to go to church with a friend. But that Friday night she went to a party and got high on marijuana.
“I got so high, I got paranoid. I thought I was losing my mind. So I lay back down, and then it felt like God was on one side of me and Satan was on the other side of me. It was like they were combating for my soul.”
That Sunday, she went to church as promised. The battle for her soul was about to end.
“The pastor began to preach. I felt so convicted because I wasn’t living what he was preaching. But I felt good because he was telling me how I could live what he was preaching.”
After the service, the pastor came over to talk to Almetia.
“He asked me if I was saved, and I said no. He said, ‘Would you like to be saved?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ He began to tell me about Jesus and how Jesus came and died to bring us back to Him. Tears began to stream down my face, and I began to say, ‘Yes, I want that love in my life.’ I felt so empty.”
That day, Almetia asked Jesus into her heart.
“He said, ‘All I want you to do is repeat this prayer after me. Father, I come to You a sinner. I’m lost, and I’m on my way to a devil’s hell. But I want You to forgive me of all my sins. I repent of all my sins. I turn, and I follow after You. I ask You to come into my heart and save me.’ I remember saying that, and I could feel such a weight lifting off of me.”
Almetia wanted her husband to experience that same freedom so she began to pray for him.
“I used to say, ‘God, I want him to know what real love and liberty is before he leaves this earth. I thank you for a saved husband.’ I would go to sleep at night. I’m telling you, this man would call me all kind of names, and I would say, ‘God, I thank you for a saved husband’ [while] crying.”
It seems as if her prayers were answered. One day, Almetia’s friends from church came over to talk to Thomas. He confessed Jesus Christ as his Savior!
“[After that] my husband did not drink. He did not smoke. He did not curse.”
But the change didn’t last long. After a week in a half Thomas went back to drinking, smoking, and his abusive ways.
“I asked him, ‘Why don’t you love me?’ He said, ‘You women are all alike.’ I said, ‘What do you mean? Your mother is a woman.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ He began to tell me this story about when he was six years old how he caught his mom with someone else. I felt like I didn’t know it then but I realized later that he was making all women pay for how his mom hurt him.”
In spite of the abuse Almetia continued going to church. On one Sunday, she received a miracle from God.
“The pastor had preached, ‘If there is anybody that’s sick, we want you to write it on the prayer card.’ I said, ‘God, I want You to heal me of the cancer, the ulcer, or anything else that’s wrong with me.
“The pastor says, ‘Are you saying the doctor said you have cancer? Not only can God heal you, but God will heal you. All you have to do is believe it.’
“This was like somebody was giving me a million dollars. I was like, ‘Yes, I believe that God’ll heal me.’ And he prayed for me,” says Almetia. “I fell on that little dirty floor but I knew when I was down there that God healed me. I had cancer when I fell down, but when I got up I was healed.”
Almetia went back to the doctor to confirm she had been healed. “When I got that letter stating that those tests were negative, I was praising God. I was so happy inside, and I could hear the Lord saying to me, ‘You’re going to be a testimony for Me.’”
But the excitement quickly faded when she went home to her abusive husband. Almetia continued to believe that he would change. But nothing could penetrate Thomas’ hardened heart.
Almetia recalls, “As I was walking, I was crying. I [said], ‘God, I don’t know what else to do. I have been through this so many years. I’ve been through this so much. I don’t know what else to do. I prayed. I have asked You to help me. God, don’t You love me?’ I was thinking of all of the abuse. All of the beatings. All of the name calling. And now it was just like He had forsaken me. I felt so alone.”
God heard the cries of her heart. Shortly thereafter, Almetia felt that God wanted to give her husband a final warning.
“I told him, ‘If you don’t change, you will not live to see this year out.’ When I said that it was like God stamped it.”
Thomas did change towards Gerald, and they bonded as father and son.
“As we began rebuilding the engine we began to rebuild a bond,” says Gerald. “It began to lighten a lot of the anguish and a lot of the hurt that I had on the inside of me. It began to let me see [that] I do have a father. He’s trying so I’m going to try with him.”
Yet he continued to abuse his wife. Before the year was out Thomas died of a massive heart attack.
Almetia realized in order to move on with her life, she had to do something very important.
“I had his license with his picture on it. I got by myself, and I began to talk to him,” says Almetia. “I said, ‘I forgive you. I forgive you for everything that you’ve done to me. I forgive you for everything that you did to my kids.’”
God began to restore her life. Instead of becoming a victim of her past, God gave her the courage to reach out to other victims of abuse.
Over for the next eight years Almetia studied to become an ordained minister. She wanted to marry again but this time she waited on God.
Almetia started a seminar for widows and widowers. During this time she met a man named Bobby.
“There’s something different about this man,” Almetia says.
Bobby recalls, “When I first saw her, I remember telling the Lord that I needed someone just like that.”
“I’m like, ‘I’m not doing anything until God tells me,’” Almetia says. “So we get to church. The pastor said, ‘God told me to tell you that you have been through all the steps. God told me to tell you, yes.’ When he said that I knew God was talking to me. I knew God was telling me, ‘Yes, this is the man I want you to marry.’”
A year later, Bobby and Almetia married. Her prayers were answered. She was getting a saved husband and the wedding of her dreams.
“I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness,” Almetia says. “I was feeling all of this walking down the aisle, and I felt so good. I felt really good (laughs).”
Gerald says, “When I gave her away, it made me feel good to know that she’s getting a man that’s saved.”
“I began to sing this song,” says Bobby. “This is not an ordinary love but one ordained by God. This is not an ordinary love. What I feel for you is destined to be free.”
Today Almetia enjoys a loving marriage with her new husband. It far outweighs any pain of her past.
“I remember when I was married to Thomas at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning I used to hate to hear that key turn in that door,” Almetia recalls. “After I married Bobby, at 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning I would wake up and hear him praying. I would lay back and say, ‘God, I thank You.’”
Almetia is in full-time ministry with her husband, who pastors Seed Planting Christian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. They also conduct marriage seminars and marriage counseling. Almetia candidly shares the struggles and victories of her life in two books -- What Do You Do Once God Delivers You? and Soul Ties that Bind.
Out of her passion to reach victims of abuse, Almetia founded Beaten, Battered and Broken to Mended Ministries -- an anointed teaching ministry where hurting lives are being restored through the Word of God. Hundreds of lives are being changed!
“It gives me great joy and pleasure to see that God can use me to minister to them, to bring them to a place where they can say, ‘I can come out of this. I don’t have to stay in this relationship. I don’t have to stay bound,’” says Almetia. “I just thank God for that.”
Almetia knows that God is faithful, and no matter what trials we face in life, God can deliver and turn it around for His glory!
“There was a time that I knew that I could have died. But God didn’t allow death to come, and God allowed me to make it through that because He had a plan and a destiny for my life,” says Almetia. “I’m here today to show you that it does work together for the good because God has blessed me. He has turned everything around in my life. So I know, without a shadow of a doubt, all things do work together for the good of those that love God.
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